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POLL: Many New Yorkers still feel racial, religious minorities experience discrimination

Martin Luther King Jr. in a group of men, all wearing black suits and ties with white shirts
Siena College

A new poll from Siena College shows that just over half of New York voters feel that minority New Yorkers have the same opportunities to succeed as white New Yorkers.

But Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said the numbers change depending on the political affiliation and race of the people responding to the survey.

He said the poll, which is done annually on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, shows that a majority of Democrats and an overwhelming majority of Black voters say that Black voters in New York do not have the same opportunities.

But a majority of Republicans, independents, Latinos, white voters and men feel that minority New Yorkers do have the same opportunities.

Despite that divide along race and politics, Greenberg said the Siena poll does show some positive movement forward in the state.

“Last year only 27% of Black New Yorkers thought race relations in the state were excellent or good,” said Greenberg. This year, it’s up to 37%. Now, 37% is a far cry from where I think we’d all like to see it, but still, going up 10 points in the last year, maybe that’s a hopeful sign.”

The numbers Greenberg cites were similar for white voters who responded to this survey.

In terms of whether New Yorkers think that minorities who live in the state experience racial or ethnic discrimination, Greenberg said the answers also vary depending on race, although he said a majority of New Yorkers do think that people of color are being discriminated against.

“92% of Black voters, 87% of Latinos and 67% of whites. So whites are lower than Blacks and Latinos. But again, you still have two-thirds of whites saying, yes, minorities do experience discrimination in New York.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.